Radical Islamic terrorist attacks have once again made their way across the oceans to the United States of America. The brutality of the attacks at Pulse, a gay night club in Orlando, Fla., once again shocked the conscience of Americans at home and pretty much everyone else throughout the world.

Needless to say, the impact of the attack on the 2016 presidential election will be direct and immediate. Already both presidential candidates as well as President Barack Obama have weighed in with their solutions to the threat of radical Islamic terrorists spreading their evil like a metastasized cancer throughout the world.

When all Americans — regardless of their race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation — can no longer feel safe here, voters react, and more often than not they react at the ballot box. As these attacks get closer and closer to home with terrorists targeting “soft” targets, it is an understatement to say these attacks will be a major issue in this year’s elections.

Like everything political, there will be no shortage of explanations and policies or people to blame. It is the nature of politics. Democrats will undoubtedly point to President George W. Bush and the Iraq war for destabilizing the Middle East — as if the Middle East has ever been stable. Of course, it will be a tricky dance for former New York Senator Hillary Clinton, who voted for that war.

Republicans will be equally quick to point to President Barack Obama’s premature withdrawal from Iraq and his refusal to acknowledge and respond to the radical Islamic terrorist threat as a matter of national security. For the American people who died in Orlando, San Bernardino, Boston, Fort Hood and New York City, it was not climate change that brought an end to their lives; it was radical Islamic terrorists.

There was a time when moments of national crisis and mourning would bring Americans together. After Sept. 11, 2001, there were no Republicans or Democrats; there were just Americans, mourning the loss of so many and resolved to bring the killers to justice wherever they were.

But, the politics of division have taken such a firm hold in the United States today that such unity has become all but impossible. Unity among all Americans has become one more unfortunate casualty of the times. It is the inevitable consequence of constantly focusing on the differences within the United States rather than what Americans have in common.

When terrorists attacked Paris, the world seemingly came together for a moment of unity to defy the terrorists and signal a coming together. Yet, as world leaders locked arms, neither the President nor the Vice President of the United States were anywhere to be found. It gave new meaning to “leading from behind.”

And so, Americans yet again mourn the murder of fellow Americans by a radical Islamic terrorist hidden in Florida whose only focus was killing Americans. Meanwhile, every American must now focus on their own vulnerability and the constant challenges all free civilized societies, especially the United States of America, face.

Contrary to the continued proclamations by President Obama, this is not about guns or the right to bear arms. As the Boston Marathon proved, guns are not the only modus operandi when radical Islamic terrorists are intent on killing innocent civilians. Whether they use a blade for beheadings, a bomb for crowds, or a gun for shootings, the aim of the radical Islamic terrorists is to produce terror and they will use any weapon that can accomplish that goal.

Yet, the terror attack in Orlando does reflect a meaningful shift in the way many Americans now see the war on terror. It is neither a Democratic nor Republican issue. Certainly, the national Democratic Party has prided itself on promoting and advancing the rights of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities. Indeed, it has been one of the cornerstones of their 2016 presidential election strategy. But no one can deny that this administration’s refusal to call these murderers radical Islamic terrorists is difficult to reconcile with its unfailing efforts to court the LGBT communities. Both Sharia law and the Islamic faith not only condone, but also demand the most severe consequences for people who fall within these groups. The refusal to connect the dots makes protecting all Americans much more difficult.

Reading the stories of the victims of the Orlando attack will be difficult and painful. For everyone with an ounce of humanity, it will be hard to digest. But, Americans will respond.

This is why the Evans Report continues to report on the transformative nature of this election cycle. Make no mistake, traditional notions about what motivates American voters is now in an accelerating state of flux and change. The Orlando attacks punctuate that change.

And so, this election will not be about the issues that have dominated the presidential election cycles of the last two decades. It will be about whether this country is a nation coming together or a country being torn apart.

Only time will tell. Meanwhile, the hopes and prayers of all Americans remain focused on the victims and their families for the losses they have suffered and for the United States of America to come together again as one nation laser focused on defeating the radical Islamic terrorists.


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